Thursday, 16 December 2010

Organizations as Villians

Today I have the honour of introducing a guest post by author Stephen Tremp. Yesterday I visited his blog and talked about using villains to create conflict, as part of his Home and Away blog tour. Today Stephen talks about organizations as villains.

Villains do not have to be people per se. They can be organizations like governments, corporations, law firms, Wall Street, organized crime, and science, although individuals within the organization need to be the ones making the nefarious decisions. Organizations make great villains! Just think of the resources they have at their disposal. Money. Power. Secretive Research and Development. They recruit some of the best minds in the world. They have ambition and are motivated by greed, fear, and expansion. They can hide behind a veil of secrecy. The bribe public officials. They can bury opponents and enemies in a landslide of attorneys and tons of paperwork.

Governments and their intelligence agencies can conspire to cover up truths, such as knowledge of aliens in the TV series the X-Files. Secret societies and New World Orders enslave mankind while destroying democracy and freewill. In George Orwell’s 1984 is set in perpetual war, public mind control, and spying and surveillance. In a more humorous note, remember KAOS from the TV series Get Smart? They were an international organization of evil during the Cold War bent on word takeover.

Corporations and industries also make for deviant villains. Movies like The Fugitive and Avatar have greedy institutions, or individuals using these organizations as a front, as the central character. Corporations can pollute the environment causing innocent people to become sick and die ala Erin Brokovich (Julia Roberts) and A Civil Action (John Travolta). Joseph Finder, author of Killer Instinct, Paranoia, Company Man use a corporate setting. I’ve read all three of these books and recommend them all.

Wall Street has no shortage of bad guys. Who can forget Gordon Gecko saying, “Greed is good.” I recommend renting Barbarians At The Gate (James Garner), a true story of that follows the actual takeover of the RJR Nabisco empire in a tongue in cheek way. Some stories will incorporate capitalism or capitalists as the villain.

Law Firms can make for a formidable foe. In the book and movie The Firm, the protagonist is recruited and seduced by the money and gifts showered on him, while being totally oblivious to the more sinister side of his company. Their MO is to suck you in, get you used to the lifestyle, kids in private school … before you know it you are committing crimes. Good luck getting out.

Organized Crime stories like The Godfather, The Sopranos, and Payback make for great movies. Good Fellas and Casino were great movies based on real life people and events. Organized Crime could be a series of posts all its own.

Science. Where do we begin? Physics, nanotechnology, biology, and anything that is genetically modified makes for a great backdrop. Countless books and movies are based on technology gone too far. Science run amok. My book Breakthrough focuses on this premise. Many people today are more than concerned about the boundaries science is pushing. Even the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has been accused of creating mini black holes that could eventually swallow up our planet earth. The inspiration for science-based stories are endless.

Okay, speaking of science, I promised Ellie I would somehow include something regarding Dr. Brian Cox, a Royal Society University Research Fellow based in the Particle Physics group at the University of Manchester, where he holds a chair in Particle Physics. He works on the ATLAS experiment at CERN in Geneva. I thought I would end this post on a humorous post with this YouTube Clip .

Stephen Tremp blogs at Breakthrough Blogs and is author of the Near Future SciFi Thriller Breakthrough.

If you feel this blog is worthy, go ahead and make my day. Retweet it.


  1. very solid info and mr. tremp great job... and ellie... i have a big old smile for you...
    happy thursday!
    much respect!

  2. The evil corporation in Avatar comes to mind...

  3. What a great list of potential villains, Stephen. You've given me a few things to think about!

  4. Thanks Ellie for hosting m today and thanls everyone for stopping by and saying hi. Organizations do make great villains.

  5. So many villains and not enough hero's. Where is superman? Nice post.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  6. I loved this blog post and were I a Tweeter I would tweet away.
    I have a theme in my head for my SFR and may use a corporate villain it in, so this was a great brain storm moment for me. :O)

  7. Great post. It's great to think about where the conflict, or evil can come from.

  8. Interesting thoughts--a villain that isn't a single person, or a group of people, has many different possibilities.

  9. Another great post from Stephen on villains! Thank you!

  10. I think organizations make better villians than serial killers.

    REally good examples Stephen. You mentioned all the ones I was thinking of, and a couple I didn't. I guess medical insurance could fall under corporations or legal systems.

    Excellent post.


  11. I think having large corporations as the villain can be scarier than the most terrifying of individuals. Funny video about time!

  12. Donna and all, there are more to add to the list. Medical insurance like Donna said is a good one. The stories are endless of these organizations denying benefits ro people who rightfully deserve them. Try to challenge them and you will spend years and tons of money fightin a losing battle. Sad but true.

  13. Get a watch Dr Cox!! LOL!!! I love that clip!!!

    What a great guest post - thanks Ellie and Stephen Tremp for such a fab look at all sorts of villains!! Whole entities and intangible things could be villains - the world is literally your oyster with villains!! Take care

  14. Corporations, syndicates, and other groups make great villains because there is so much to contend with. You almost have to have a face or some faces to go with them-- more jobs for villainous actors.

    Tossing It Out

  15. iZombie - I'm beaming a big smile back.

    Alex J. Cavanaugh - perfect example!

    Janel - I was thinking the same!

    Stephen Tremp - it was an honour.

    N. R. Williams - superheroes always need a nemesis.

    Madeleine - thank you giving this post a shout on your blog! I'm not a Tweeter either. Maybe that should be one of our New Year goals?

  16. Patti - thank you. Don't forget to check out Stephen's blog - he's been running a series of guest posts focussing on villains.

    The Golden Eagle - it has certainly made me stop and think about who the villains are in my WIP.

    Talli - thank you!

    Donna Hole - I've just written a short story that features a serial killer and it was fun to get inside his head (should I be worried about that?). But the villain in my WIP is an organisation, and I'm liking that too.

    Jane Kennedy-Sutton - I made Stephen promise to feature Professor Brian Cox. I'm in love, but don't tell my other half. LOL.

    Old Kitty - you watched the Cox. Yay! If you look up Wonders of the Solar System on youtube there is a great spoof video. It's got bad language, but it's hilarious.

    Arlee Bird - very true.

  17. Hi Steve .. another great post with some good links for books and movies .. one day I'll catch up .. I love watching Brian Cox and those sort of programmes over here .. not so much the Brian Cox aspect though .. but his documentaries. The video is great .. a wonderful fun viewing. Villains are all over the place -

    Thanks & hope you both have good weekends .. without too much snow our end .. cheers Hilary

  18. Hilary Melton-Butcher - you don't like Brian Cox? LOL.


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